The Battle of the Texas Tempranillos was a big success with 28 wineries participating and providing their best Tempranillo. After 15 judges finished, there was a list of their favorites and we posted the top 11 wines because there was a tie for 9th place. Let’s take a little closer look at those 11 wines.
It was interesting most of the top rated wines were 100% Tempranillo, or at least which was revealed when technical sheets were received as requested. Some of these top rated wines were the last to taste and some were the first to taste, which shows the judges did an excellent job in judging each wine individually and avoiding palate fatigue.
One judge who was a winemaker suggested sending all the tasting notes for their wine so they could perhaps learn what to do better next time. I thought this was an excellent idea so I will be sending all the tasting notes for the wine submitted to every winery who participated.
- Lost Draw Cellars, Tempranillo 2012, Texas High Plains, $36 – 13.9% alc/vol
You may have not heard of Lost Draw Cellars and that most likely is because they are officially opening on November 21st this month. The wines are available for sale on their website. But if you drink Texas wines, you most likely have seen Lost Draw Vineyards on a bottle and that would be one and the same as a co-owner in Lost Draw Cellars. We visited them during the construction of the winery earlier this year.
The fruit for the wine came from Lost Draw Vineyards and the wine made at McPherson Cellars. The wine was fermented for two weeks in stainless steel and aged for 14 months in oak barrels.
Some notes from the judges: great nose, ripe plum, licorice, hint of sugar, good structure, good tannin, long finish. Good nose – spice! Ripe raspberry, velvet, bright acid. Jammy nose, slight fig smell and raisins, very balanced wine. Lots of strawberry flavor, nice in mouth, gentle, fruity. Oak perfectly integrated, soft tannins. Acid medium+, tannins medium+
- Brushy Creek Vineyards and Winery, Tempranillo 2012, Rush Creek Vineyards, $34.99 – 15% alc/vol
Notes from winery: It has broad refined tannins across the midpalate with a lingering tannic finish. Serve with grilled meats, chocolate, blue cheese, and the opposite sex.
Some notes from the judges: dark, inky, higher alcohol, ripe plum, wonderful flavor and mouth feel, good tannic structure, long aftertaste. Dark inky color, mildly spicy on midpalate, moderately long finish. A slight cheesy yeast like funk, but it adds to complexity. Very nice and intense aromas. Blackberries and cherries in mouth with a hint of tobacco and spices. Nice and balanced acidity. Tannins need to be softer.
- Bending Branch Winery, Tempranillo 2011, Newsom Vineyards, $40 – 13.2% alc/vol
Notes from winery: 24 months of American Oak barrel, new and neutral. 340 cases. The Tempranillo offers classic notes of espresso grounds, sweet pipe tobacco, anisette, and cardamom with a rich cherry and raspberry finish that balances with a bright acidic backbone and tannic structure.
Some notes from the judges: good nose, retains smell of vineyard, ripe plum, medium finish, food friendly. Smooth finish. Bright red raspberry, rose petal, bright acid. Great balance of acidity and ripe fruit. Great food pairing wine, lovely bouquet. Easy wine to keep drinking. Not very aromatic, although elegant and soft in mouth. Cherry, acid, balanced, light in color.
- Becker Vineyards, Reserve Tempranillo 2013, $16.95 – 13.6% alc/vol
Some notes from judges: pleasant nose, ripe plum, low tannins, good color, needs slightly more body. Balanced, medium finish. Pate, fig, ripe, vanilla, cherry, rhubarb, strawberry, clean, fine tannin, Very good structure, red and dark fruits. Lots of spices and licorice, ripe prunes, very jammy and complex, tobacco finish.
- Pontotoc Vineyard, Tempranillo 2013, 100% Estate, $30 – 13.5% alc/vol
Some notes from the judges: good nose, ripe plum, licorice, medium finish. Light color. Smucker’s preserves, smokey, rainier cherry. High acid, sour cherry, raspberry. Great food wine. Nice aroma and nice pruny finish. Interesting bakery aromas. Clean finish, acidity plus, long finish, cocoa, tobacco.
- Hye Meadow Winery, 100% Tempranillo 2012, Texas High Plains Bayer Family Vineyard, $36 – 11.5% alc/vol
Some notes from the judges: great nose, good color, good structure, mild tannins, moderate finish.Violets, pressed rose petals, bing cherry, blackberry compote, blueberry, balance. Red fruit flavors: strawberries. Nice and balanced finish. Maybe some lack of structure. Low alcohol.
- Duchman Family Winery, Tempranillo 2012, Bayer Family Vineyard, $34 – 13.8% alc/vol
Some notes from the judges: sage, good finish, light color, only needs more color and body, nice spice. Fleshy red plum, velvet. Good fruit on the palate. Smokey, smooth, easy fruit, perfect finish. Interesting flavors strawberries, cherries, and spices. Screams for roast lamb.
- Barking Rocks Vineyard and Winery, Tempranillo 2011, Texas High Plains, $20 – 14.3% alc/vol
Some notes from the judges: Licorice and caramel, great nose, fruity, good tannins, long finish, deep color. Cinnamon, raisin, apple crisp, medium acid. Sweet vanilla, raisin, balanced fruit, pleasant and graceful. Ripe black fruit with a hint of eucalyptus and licorice. Nice in mouth and balanced.
- (tie) Kiepersol Estates, Texas Tempranillo 2011, KE Vineyards, $14.99 – 13.2% alc/vol
Some notes from the judges: Caramel, brownish tint. Vanilla nose, well balanced. Little short on finish. Rose petal, apple skin, round supple ripe fruit, grippy skin tannin. Sweet cherry and caramel, raspberry, strawberry. Very balanced and graceful. Great wine to pair with food.
- (tie) Llano Estacado Winery, Cellar Reserve Tempranillo 2012, Texas High Plains, $16.99 – 12.5% alc/vol
Notes from winery: 79% Tempranillo from the Reddy Vineyard and the Newsom Vineyard and Mourvedre from Reddy Vineyard.
Some notes from the judges: blackberry, short finish, light color. Soft aromas, a little spice/pepper, earthy tobacco. Stewed berry, balance, medium plus acid. Ripe cherry, raspberry, smooth finish with a pleasant nose. Gentle sweet red fruit. Very soft in mouth. Easy to drink balanced.
- (tie) Pedernales Cellars, Tempranillo Reserve 2012, Texas Hill Country and High Plains, $39.99 – 13.8%
Some notes from the judges: Earthy, good color, no donut hole, Brule, dried violets, balance. Vanilla, great finish. Soft tannins, balance between oak and fruit.